How to deal with moving/supporting old grape vines in spring

watergirl216(7b)May 14, 2013

I have two old grape vines that have been supported by a fence and handmade trellises, but I am in the middle of having to take both the fence and the trellis down, due to rot. I have the grapes barely supported by the couple fence posts left and the trellises need to come down next. You can see them in these photos.

My questions...

1. How should I support the huge maze of vines while getting a new support built or can I just leave them without supports for a week?

2. Should I just cut them all the way back this year and just let them grow back next year? Is it bad to cut them all the way back, especially this late in the season?

Side note: I'm always afraid to prune the grapes each year because I don't know how to prune grapes. So instead I just let them go. When it produces grapes they are so sweet and good!!

Thank you for any help or advice!

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I'd cut that mess all the way back to the trunk. Build a new trellis and grow a new vine this summer. That will put you in ideal shape for a big crop in 2014. Then in the spring of 2015 you'll have the ideal situation to learn how to prune properly. It's not that hard unless you have plants like your current plant and you want to get things right without missing a crop. By missing one crop you will be ideally setup for annual pruning.

I love to prune grapes more than anything else because done right the plant looks the same every year after pruning. Everything else bets bigger every year and eventually needs renewal pruning, just what your vine needs now. Done every year it's easy. Done once in a while not so much.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 12:11PM
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watergirl216(7b)

Thank you so much fruitnut! I was wondering if I should cut it all the way back. I'm always afraid of pruning it all the way back. I can't imagine how it grows back when you cut it all the way back to the trunk, but I have to trust it, huh?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 6:18PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

It's not possible to tell where the new growth will come from but I'd be 99.8% sure that it will. If it's up on the trunk, train those shoots up onto the new trellis. If it's from down by the ground train the strongest shoot up to the trellis, tip it, and run the side shoots down the trellis. Those new shoots will give you fruit next year.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 6:39PM
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